ST PAUL—Conservatives have been fighting a rearguard action when it comes to shaping energy policy in Minnesota, and a group of prominent conservatives are aiming to change that.
They have formed a group called “The Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum” (MnCEF), aiming to reshape the politics and policy thinking of conservatives on clean energy.
The leadership of the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum has released a “Statement of Principles” that outlines their approach to developing energy policy. It promotes an “all of the above” approach to energy production, encouraging the development of renewable energy while shunning punitive policies aimed at legacy energy production. The goal is to help conservatives shape the emerging energy economy along pro-consumer and free market lines.
The group has some heavy hitters leading the charge: Amy Koch, Former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader and small business owner; John Pederson, Minnesota State Senator and businessman; King Banaian, a professor in the Department of Economics at St. Cloud State University and a Dean there; Jason Adkins, Executive Director, Minnesota Catholic Conference; Walter Hudson, a columnist for PJ Media and city councilman in Albertville; Aly Eichman, President, Minnesota College Republicans; and Ben Gerber, Executive Director, Minnesota Renewable Energy Tracking System.
David Strom, will be serving as Project Director for MnCEF.
“The debate about energy policy has become a proxy for the debate over global warming, and the sides have become locked in. That’s getting us nowhere,” said David Strom.
“The fact is that inexpensive, reliable energy is the foundation of the economy. We also know that whatever you believe about climate change, all Minnesotans want a cleaner and more prosperous Minnesota. We can modernize energy production and the grid in ways that benefit consumers while tilting production toward cleaner alternatives,” said Strom.
“We believe that the free market and open competition is the best path to getting there, not through top-down government mandates picking winners and losers. Solyndra didn’t generate a watt of clean energy for consumers,” Strom added.
MnCEF also takes aim at the current regulated monopoly model of electricity production, arguing that modern technology can put more power into the hands of consumers.
“Look at what happened when the telecom monopoly was broken: within a generation consumers were had supercomputers in their pocket, able to communicate with anybody on the globe. We believe that we are on the cusp of a similar revolution in the energy market,” added Amy Koch, one of the founders of the group.
We believe that inexpensive, abundant energy and the efficient use of that energy is the key to our quality of life.
We believe that a diverse and increasingly renewable energy portfolio is the key to ensuring the supply of inexpensive and abundant energy.
We believe that to the extent feasible America should rely on domestically produced energy, in order to reduce reliance on hostile or unstable regimes, or on insecure lines of communications.
We believe that the more prosperous America has become, the more Americans demand clean as well as affordable energy.
We believe that one of the goods Americans want to purchase with their wealth is a clean and beautiful environment, and to leave it cleaner for the next generation.
We believe that conservatives have for too long conceded the intellectual battlefield over energy use and production to others, locking ourselves out of the energy debate.
We believe that the current electricity monopolies are outdated and ill serve consumers, and that new sources of renewable electrical production can provide choice and competition for consumers, and reduce reliance on a grid that is vulnerable to disruptions and attacks.
We believe that the renewable energy industry can, does, and will contribute to Minnesota’s economic growth. We also believe that it is in our economic interest to pursue the goal of leading the technological revolution in energy production.
We are the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum.